I have recently defended my thesis in Sweden and started to look for positions, pretty much anywhere. As a part of the process I am currently trying to update and freshen my CV, linked-in profile etc.

I noticed that I am having difficulties in fitting into the existing templates when describing my profile. My work is of a rather interdisciplinary nature, in a research group that is not very close to what the other research groups within the department work with.

So say my research groups is working on Bowling and our department is named Joggling. This rather odd organization of research groups is due to the "common use" of bowling pins. In this rather silly metaphor, my own research would be on Wood wax, relevant for bowling but not so much for circus trickery. So calling myself a "PhD in Joggling" would be extremely misleading when looking for jobs, whereas "PhD in Woodwax" is technically lying.

Given space, I can describe what I do and effectively dodge the bullet by something like "I have a PhD from Department of Joggling, focusing/working on Woodwax". However when the number of characters is limited it becomes rather tricky.

Are there any good ways of handling this?

  • 1
    Are you in Europe, US or elsewhere? Is anything like "PhD in Joggling" written on your diploma/certificate?
    – yo'
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 15:53
  • @yo' tried to clarify the location.. I have not yet received the diploma but it will essentially say just that
    – posdef
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 16:19

2 Answers 2


I wouldn't worry too much about it. If you have a PhD from the Department of Joggling, you have a PhD in Joggling more or less by definition.

Most people in academia are aware that a specific research project can go quite far away from the basic area of the department that it is done in. Whenever someone tries to evaluate whether you're a good fit to a certain area, the department you got your PhD in is only one of many, and not the most significant, aspect.

In your CV, you can easily state the title of your PhD thesis. It's reasonably short and hopefully conveys the exact field you worked on most clearly. When there's no space for that, it's sufficient to say that you have a PhD in Joggling.


Your Ph.D. is in the department is says it is in, and there's nothing that you can (or should) do about it. For example, my Ph.D. is in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, but my thesis didn't really have anything to do with EE. That's OK: most people understand that the actual names and structures of departments are complex and often historical artifacts.

What will really speak for you in your application is your thesis and publications. If the titles of those clearly show your area of work, then just make sure that they appear clearly and prominently wherever you present yourself.

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